The Week Ahead

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION

Tuesday, Dec. 18, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Housing starts during November are forecast to have slipped to an annual rate of 1.54 million, after a pace of 1.55 million homes in October. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The trade deficit in October likely widened to $28 billion as imports are expected to rebound more strongly than exports. In September, the trade deficit narrowed to a smaller-than-expected $18.7 billion, due to border closings and interruptions resulting from the September 11 terrorist attacks.

LEADING INDICATORS

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's November composite index of leading economic indicators likely inched up 0.1%, according to S&P's MMS. In October, the index climbed 0.3%.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Thursday, Dec. 20, 2 p.m. EST -- The U.S. Treasury probably posted a $45 billion deficit for November, up from $23.6 billion in November, 2000. The poor economy and increased spending are expected to whittle the fiscal year 2002 budget surplus to just $30 billion.

PERSONAL INCOME

Friday, Dec. 21, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Personal income in November probably grew 0.2%. Consumer spending likely fell 0.5% in November, after an unexpected jump of 2.9% in October.

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